Last year wasn’t the greatest for me. However, there were a few things that brought me joy during the self-imposed monotony and funk of 2011. The next few posts will be about these things.
Of course, anybody who knows me, or who has read anything I’ve written since May, knows there is one distraction that stood out above all others. I’d like to get this
elephant equine out of the room first.
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
On its face, the idea of grown men watching a show called My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, sounds very odd (to say the least). I didn’t know what the hell was wrong with the world when I first read about the phenomenon in May of 2011. However, being a guy who watches a lot of cartoons and who probably enjoys kids shows a little more than he should, I had to look into it. I never expected it to be one of the best television shows I have ever seen.
There are a lot of reasons people like me watch the show, but I have tried to come up with the most simple. When veteran animator and story writer Lauren Faust and her team re-envisioned Hasbro’s ever-present My Little Pony franchise, they took what was always a mediocre, stereotypical show meant to sell toys to little girls, and turned it into a well-written, clever show meant to sell toys to little girls. Wanting to make a different kind of show for girls, Faust’s pony incarnation played out more like an all-female cast sitcom rather than an after-school special. Faust and her team also included a big does of the quirky humor familiar to fans of shows she’d previously worked on, such as The Powerpuff Girls and Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends; both of which were already enjoyed by audiences of all ages, and sexes.
The result was an unexpected mutant of a television show, watched, and loved, by both little girls and cartoon-watching guys of all ages. Apparently, the fact that the show was called My Little Pony wasn’t much of a hurdle for guys (like me) who like good cartoons. Much to Hasbro’s (secret) joy, both demographics buy toys (not like me).
Personally, I enjoy the show for a couple of reasons. The production value of the show, from the details in the animation, to the quality of voice acting, is unusually high for any (cartoon) show; especially one based on a toy franchise. The dialog is often smarter than what can be found in most shows for adults. However, it is the humor that keeps me watching it; a combination of obvious gags, pop-culture references (both old and new), clever dialog, and facial expressions.
I am also continually amazed (and horrified) at what the fan-base does with the show. The internet is full of talented artists, writers, composers, and animators that make wonderful (and horrible) works based on the show and its characters. Entire sites, such as Equestria Daily, are dedicated to the exhibition of what pony fans create. It is through this large Internet fan-base I stumbled upon the whole “Pony phenomenon”, and I’m quite certain the Internet was a key factor in the shows popularity with the male demographic, and it continues to keep it fresh.
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic isn’t for everyone, but if you enjoy children’s cartoons (I’m convinced children’s entertainment is where all the smart writers go these days), and can deal with the fact that you’re watching a show about brightly colored ponies, originally intended for little girls, you might be pleasantly surprised.
Other things I’ve written about My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.
My Little Confession (more in-depth article on the show)
Pony Related Nonsense (article on the fan-base)
More Pony Related Nonsense (the scary bits of the fan-base)
Jack Karouac Never Wrote about Him (an odd history of shows I’ve watched leading to the inevitable)